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September 17, 2012

ABAC namesake one of two Georgians to sign Constitution

TIFTON —

The namesake for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College penned his name on one of the most famous documents in the world 225 years ago.  Abraham Baldwin was one of only two Georgia signers of the United States Constitution, which was signed by 39 men on Sept. 17, 1787.

 Constitution Day celebrates the event, which took place in Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  Fifty-five men attended the four-month long Constitutional Convention which resulted in the 4,543-word document, the oldest and shortest national constitution.  Nine of the 13 states were required to ratify the Constitution.

ABAC President David Bridges said Baldwin was a key figure on the national level as well as in the history of Georgia.

“We are proud that our college is named for an individual who set the stage for higher education in Georgia and then helped to shape a document on the national level that has now lasted 225 years,” Bridges said.  “One of our new exhibits in the renovated Tift Hall honors Abraham Baldwin and his many accomplishments.”

A Constitution Week ceremony will be held in the ABAC Chapel of All Faiths on Tuesday from 6-8 p.m. featuring speakers who will address the question, “What does it mean to uphold, protect, and defend the supreme law of our land, the Constitution?”  The public is invited to attend.  Students will actually read the Constitution aloud at noon in the Chapel.

Baldwin was born on Nov. 22, 1754 as the son of a Connecticut blacksmith.  He enrolled at Yale University at the age of 14 and completed his degree four years later.  He then studied theology at Yale and became a minister.  He served on George Washington’s staff as a chaplain during the Revolutionary War before beginning a study of law. After being admitted to the bar, he moved to Georgia in 1783 to set up a law practice near Augusta.  

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